Memorial Day weekend in Miami is synonymous with late nights, loud music, mega-yachts, and enough sun and sand to make it to the official start of summer (that's on June 20). HistoryMiami has another idea: a peaceful sail through Biscayne Bay, diving into old lore and the bay's ever-growing biological diversity.
Led by Dr. Paul George, resident historian at the museum, and Dr. Eldredge “Biff” Bermingham, chief science officer at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, the intimate cruise takes riders past Stiltsville, a cluster of seven wood-frame houses located one mile south of Cape Florida. The pastel structures have stood since the early 1940s.
"There used to be 27 homes that were on stilts in the Biscayne Bay," Dr. George says. "But different hurricanes ended up destroying a number of them. The ones that are left are great, though. It's really fantastic to get out there and experience it."
During the two-and-a-half-hour ride, attendees will move through various small-scale lush islands as well as experience an unobstructed view of the Cape Florida Lighthouse, which was first built in 1825 and later reconstructed in 1846. Today, it is the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County.
"We will first leave from Bayside," Dr. George says, "and as we go along, we will outline the entire history of the bay, which is actually pretty fascinating."
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History aside, you can catch a glimpse of dolphins, manatees, and other sea life as you drift through serene waters. The views are just "indescribable," says Dr. George.
"You really can't imagine how quiet it is out there," he adds. "It's really fabulous. You just get away from all your troubles once you're out on the waters."
Memorial Day Weekend Stiltsville Cruise
The cruise departs Sunday, May 29, at 5:30 p.m. from Bayside Marketplace (401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.). Tickets are $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers. For more information, visit historymiami.org.